LORD SCALES. Before the Cyclops speaks of this woman, there are some things I would like to say to the bench. I have listened most attentively to his tirade on Lordship. And whilst it smacks of childish sincerity, it also whiffs of anarchy. He believes that no man owns the land: which makes all property theft. Yet Krew, who inhabits the depths of Earth, gets an amount of land equal to the illegal surplus of all other land. The penalty of holding too much property is clearly different for him than for everybody else. I will therefore be instructing Gaea, that the Cyclops be excluded from the benefits of any further distribution of land. Including the molten halls of Aetna.
KREW. I beg pardon?
LORD SCALES. Clearly, you are no stranger to the art of political manoeuvring. But do you think you are surrounded by such inferior minds, to lecture us so poorly? Permit me to correct you. Your ancestors were storm genii: Brontes, thunder; Steropes, lightening; and Arges, thunderbolt. The tumultuous forces of Nature, which Man cannot control. Yet from your words, all we may gather is that Man and the Earth are one. But your Gaea pantheism, with its promise of peace and plenty for all mankind is a lost Eden. Adam fell from glory when he came out of the Garden. He looked at his flesh, which was terribly changed, and wept bitterly over what he had done. His inner fire, which once yielded to his will, now had power over his entire body. And when he drew near to fire, the flames scorched him. Beyond the gates of Paradise is the shadowy realm of Pandemonium. The perfection of God’s moral world is not found in the wilderness. Life and Death are wed with diabolic vows. Flesh devours flesh. There are wild beasts, famines and plagues. Man finds no comfort in the thorny arms of Nature. He has no claws or fur like the solitary bear. To survive, Man must form tribes. Whereupon he becomes a flock in need of a shepherd. For how could the tribes of Israel find God in the desert without Moses to guide them?
KREW. And which god did they find, exactly? The Old god or the New? For the God of Moses is worse than the most savage and unjust of men.[i]
LORD SCALES. Alas, there is always a conflict of vanities. Hysterical tribes prefer to live in the shadow of an all powerful God whose laws are full of blood sacrifice; a God of hatred and vengeance, who burns cities and smites His enemies with the edge of a sword. But you raise a crucial point Cyclops, and one that scuppers your own boat. For how shall a king set in order a constitution of free tribes? Men who are free in mind and body; free in worship and sanctity of religion. Men whose selfhood comes from their own tribe and tongue, but who still respect another’s God and venerate another’s rights. Men who do not hate the alien in their midst, but always bear in mind, that despite their different faiths, they are brothers by tint of blood. Men who marry between tribes and share their inheritances. Men who are devout and patriotic, yet know that the land they were born in, with its beloved streets, churches and skies, does not belong to them, but is the property of all and sundry. To wit, men require a state and lord to govern them. Death and taxes are—
JACQUES. Let them speak. I will not heed. Lord Scales is a Slyboots; he spins a web of cunning to entrap me. The state robs Man of that which is most precious – namely his soul. Do not dignify these devils with a reply. All this political posturing makes me want to vomit. Yet these shadows perceive my thoughts… Stop thinking. Stop!
LORD SCALES. Sorry, did you say something Jacques?
JACQUES. Er, no my lord.
LORD SCALES. Are you sure? I thought I heard you call me Slyboots.
JACQUES. No my Lord!
LORD SCALES. You will not enter the Garden of Diamonic Delights by insulting me. I have seen your future and ’tis not a pretty one.
JACQUES. My future? What of it?
LORD SCALES. I refer to your next incarnation.
JACQUES. Anything is better than a life spent in the bonds of Mother Church. I would see the whole world rid of her; and every man free from Her tyranny.
LORD SCALES. A world without God?
JACQUES. Whatever it takes.
LORD SCALES. You would prefer a world of atheists and empirical reductionists? A New World defined by experiment and observation rather than faith and superstition?
JACQUES. Yes, I think that would be a bright world indeed.
LORD SCALES. Let us be perfectly clear. You would replace Mother Church with an Empirical Church?
JACQUES. I would.
LORD SCALES. And you would replace the miracles of faith with materialist cures?
JACQUES. One therapy is as good as another.
LORD SCALES. What, even Empirical Church Therapy?
JACQUES. Er, wait a minute. That means something, I know it. Empirical Church Therapy… What does it mean?
LORD SCALES. Empirical Church Therapy or E.C.T. for short: it’s a radical new treatment for Old World heretics: the witches, warlocks, soothsayers, cabbalists, spirit-rappers, seers, prophets, healers, telepathists, sorcerers, fetishists, necromancers, oracles and all other apostate misfits.
JACQUES. I fear I am doomed in one world or the other. The New World is the same as the Old?
LORD SCALES. Same precepts, different guises.
KREW. Jacques, believe me, you would not like the New World; it would break your heart to see it.
JACQUES. For why?
KREW. Because in the New World, the Empirical Church has all but destroyed Mother Earth.
LORD SCALES. Let us dwell no further on the rape of Mother Earth, by which the insensible heart of man renders all that is Holy to the hammers of his hands. Man only seeks to improve his condition. His dominion over Nature increases as civilization ascends. Yet Krew would have us believe that Man’s mastery and exploitation of Nature is an evil born from aggressive and avaricious impulses.
KREW. The hills know it. The only thing wrong with the world is Man. He subordinates all living things to Himself. And the more he knows, the more stupid he becomes. In times of peace, He prepares for war. He cuts out his heart to feed his stomach. His march of progress, his inventions and machines, are naught but devices to wrest from Nature some ill gotten gain for himself. Ergo, the state serves Mammon. The trees stand taller. What man needs is a City of God, not a state, and only God can bring it into being.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. The Cyclops has a golden mouth. But ’tis full of sectarian dissent.
KREW. Ah! Look what we have here: a man in the toga of Lordship. Well, I suppose that’s better than an ass in the gown of scholarship.
LORD SCALES. Speak, Furius Camillus.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. No advantage can spring from a state’s well-made laws, if it appoints incapable men to administer them. But that is no reason to abolish Lordship. Without Lordship, there is no state. Let us not, like foolish anarchists, equate the state with oppression. All citizens speak with a single voice when their bellies are full, their futures bright, and their instincts sated.
KREW. The Logos cannot be replaced with the pursuit of wealth and material possessions; such superficial pleasures only induce a deep spiritual thirst. And as a state slides into decadence, the malady erupts in violence. But learned men, who sit above the Lord, cannot see the cause: it strains their atheist eyes. A senate of big brains makes one big fathead. But I am sure the capable Camillus, an erudite man, who is no stranger to either extravagance or austerity, will tell us the solution…
FURIUS CAMILLUS. Better fiscal policy, brothels on every corner, cheap wine, and gladiatorial games.
KREW. Whoring, drinking and gaming. Now there’s the measure of a true statesman. No matter if men are so sunk in their depravities, that they no longer seek the privacy of a curtain to conceal their lusts. For the economy is healthy and trade is brisk. Let us cement the masses by their libidinous impulses. After all, the mob is highly volatile, immature, and its instincts never coincide with reason. But look now! They are breeding like rats! This is a formidable problem! We have a beast to control! And keeping rule will mean getting our hands very dirty! So let us devise a bigger, more subtle Beast. We shall pool our resources; merge each state with its neighbour; bind them together in a common currency; set spies in their midst; monitor all channels of communication; recruit more police; and let no man buy or sell, lest he bears the mark of the Beast… The noble Camillus has much in common with those respectable statesmen who mimic virtue: they all deal with criminals and murderers.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. That is not the point. All members of the community, whatever their rank, class or station, should be loyal to Caesar. And ’tis better to inspire affection towards the state than fear. (But of course, as every citizen secretly knows, these two terms are easily interchangeable). I myself preferred to stay clear of conspiracy and crime, or any violent intimidation. ’Twas other men who corrupted the uncorrupted, and brought scandal on my enemies…
KREW. Yes, of course. After all, loose living, extravagance, debt, addiction to vice and low haunts, over-eating and drunkenness, the craving for sexual adventures and perversions – all these things are signs of very weak characters…
FURIUS CAMILLUS. I’m sorry, you will have to ask Jacques about that.
KREW. I will admit ’tis rare to find so perverse a man as Jacques. But rarer still to find so honest a man as Camillus.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. If you are referring to my dealings with the Tax Farmer, my exemptions in Asia were legal and granted. As for stealing speeches, dramas, and inventions, ’twas rife amongst all the Assembly. You seem intent on kindling slander against me. Every citizen is owned by the state, both mind and body. Lordship is authorship. Ask any prophet: the best way to predict the future is write it down. All scribes must be censored by the Capitol. The intellectual vanity of scholars makes them easily corruptible. Anyway, all these things are mere trifles: a change of date here, a seal of approval there… ’Tis less disagreeable to hear of such things, than to do them yourself. To be honest, I found the whole business rather mean and squalid.
KREW. Of course, you cannot bring yourself to admit that you were corrupted by fame and financial considerations, any more than Judas was corrupted by thirty pieces of silver for betraying Jesus to the Jews.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. I see little point in chastising me for crimes past. ’Tis Jacques who is on trial here, not me. You argue about political problems that you do not understand. How would you have controlled the thirty-five tribes of Rome? Only four urban – and the rest rustic idiots! And why on earth must you bring The Christ into it?
KREW. Because we are talking about Mammon and God. Man cannot serve two masters. Your Republic was a contrary Janus of Heaven and State. Janus, the God of Gates, whom you promoted to Janus Pater, God of Gods. Janus, whose temple gates in the Forum were thrown open in times of war, but closed in times of peace! That’s why your mighty state, with all its weapons, legions, sentries and police, feared Jesus Christ. Because He offered something more magnificent than all the splendour and military might of Rome: The kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. Heaven on Earth? Pah! That is just a myth for the simple minded – a lost Eden, as Lord Scales rightly said. Christ was just a man, and like all dissident fanatics, highly dangerous and provocative. The fervent desire of any revolutionary is to break the continuum of history; to stop time and reinstate the happiness of a bygone age. It took centuries to build Rome. Consider all the blood and toil which goes into the foundation of empire! And once a state is constructed, it does not stay constructed; it must be constantly defended from dangers, within and without. Christ raised sedition amongst the Jews. He admonished the people for following the bad examples of scribes and Pharisees. He was the cause of many contentious beliefs, animosities and swellings of the crowd.
KREW. ’Twas Christ who said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.”[ii] What is seditious about that?
FURIUS CAMILLUS. ’Tis seditious to claim you are the son of God! How long before the mob was smitten with mania? And all the shrines of our gods went up in flames? Janus Pater could never let Him through the gates!
KREW. So the entire Republic was directed against the destruction of one defenceless prophet. Yet his courage, his power, his strength of will and inner Light, was far greater than any man.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. Unfortunately, his ignoble death between two thieves undermines your case. What’s the matter? Do not transfix me with such an accusing glare.
KREW. Christ is the exalted being of the spiritual sun! His descent into matter is the central event of Man’s evolution! There is nothing sectarian about the Christ. His entry into the shadowlands of Earth brings a ray of hope, that Mankind might choose to develop, and evolve into God consciousness.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. Well, I didn’t crucify him. Who is on trial here? Why not summon Pilate, Herod, or the soldiers that hammered in the nails which such impunity?
KREW. Impunity is a great incitement for killing God. For then absolute standards do not exist and the state can invent its own. Play your fiddle whilst Rome burns. Let us discard the entire line of argument.
LORD SCALES. Yes, yes, granted, I will concede. And now Mother Church has swung the other way. A repressive regime where Death is the only liberation.
KREW. Liberal or repressive, both roads end in the same precipice. The Logos cannot be married with the state. By their very definitions, they are completely different things. The former is warm, simple and loving; the latter is cold, calculating, complex and controlling.
FURIUS CAMILLUS. That Man’s sense of being is transferred from Logos to state is an unfortunate necessity. For if the state is oppressed, justice wanes, neighbour rises against neighbour, and nefarious crimes and murders flourish unpunished; in short, such terror and misery arise, so that all who live hate their life.
JACQUES. Terror? Misery? Is the court insane? ’Tis Mother Church who presides over these evils! Now all men cry: “How long O lord! How long!” But Christ does not appear from one generation to the next.
LORD SCALES. Do not play the prophet with me, Jacques Vallin. As antagonist of Mother Church, you outmanoeuvre yourself. The deep mystery of Golgotha is too profound for your paltry intellect. Jesus was not seized before he willed it; nor was He put to death one moment before the time in accordance with his will.[iii] And He will return at the appointed hour. Alas, you will not live to see that glorious day. You should have bowed to the Grand Inquisitor. But your pride was greater than your lust for life.
JACQUES. Pride? The inquisitor is not even a true believer! He knows Mother Church is an abomination. But ’tis better to burn people alive for challenging the state, than for denying that Christ is the Son of God!
LORD SCALES. Your hostility, insurrection and rebellion against Mother Church only serve to accentuate your own inadequacy. Goblin Jury, make no mistake, there is still much good in Mother Church, before whom the whole world trembles. But the accused would rather see her ruined in a day. ’Tis both ridiculous and absurd that he commends his pagan sect as the cure for every vice, yet blames Christianity which is the most pagan creed of all!
GARGOYLE GAUS. I concur. And what worse anarchy would arise without the rule of Mother Church? She who is entrusted with all the dignities of monarchy, would fall into the hands of incompetent churls who are deprived of wits, learning, power and strength, and weighed down by the burdens of poverty. Many are moved to terror and hatred of the Pope. Yet I cannot think of one devil who would hesitate to applaud such a formidable man. ’Tis hard to say which is the more impressive – the glory of His office, the valour of His brave Crusaders, or the gratitude of His enemies once they are defeated. But the pope’s election to office, His tithes of souls, and all the bounties He is owed, are an estimate of His true worth. That is to say, His Kingdom is a measure of His virtue, strength of character, and depth of knowledge. But most of all, it shows His hatred of the heathen, and His wits to overcome them.
LORD SCALES. Exactly. All things are endowed with dignities and responsibilities as God sees fit. Ergo, the distribution of land may be unequal, but always remains in proportion. Some fools say: “Man is the Measure of all things”. But ’tis God who sets the bounds by which the human realm is judged. And that includes the land. What diamon has not marvelled at infinite majesty of a buttercup? Alas, Man’s conception of God is borne from his little human brain. So “Man is the measure of all things,” including God. But Man cannot know what God is. Any human idea of God is quite absurd. God is beyond all human category. Yet God was incarnate in Christ, a man. So once again, “Man is the measure of all things,” especially God. For how shall Man relate to an abstract God? How shall Man ascend without hope of salvation and fear of damnation? If God be the measure of Man, then so is the land. How shall it be divided? By ballot? Shall the poverty and richness of the soil vary inversely with the size of a plot?
FURIUS CAMILLUS. Nay my lord, better to foster tribal patriotism, and prevent coalitions amongst rich and poor. Divide et impera. It cannot be any other way. Civilization depends on rational authority. Happiness has no meaning without the struggle for existence. Repression and deprivation are driving force of Man’s ascent; feudal division and war the required stimuli.
DOCTOR DERTH. Yet the Cyclops would have us believe in Gaea: a bountiful and loving goddess, who is, in actual fact, a violent matriarch, ambivalent to all her creatures. Epoch after epoch she wipes the Earth clean with purging fire. No spiritual or transcendent freedom shall ever be attained by submission to the brute force of Nature. Man must master matter if he is to become immortal. Or Death will only be conquered in the eternal cycle of the soil. The scriptures say it: “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, which searches all the hidden things of the bowels.” [iv] So let Man delve into Earth, Sun and Moon. Let him seek in the mouth of the worm and the belly of the whale; that he might know the works of the Lord and find the elixir of life.
KREW. Upon my soul! You have twisted everything I said! The empiric physician serves empire, not Mankind. All his gains in knowledge are for filthy lucre. If man could probe the smallest atom, he would not see the omnipotence and glory of God, but only the mechanics of material parts.
DOCTOR BUCKET. All sentient life is composed of insentient atoms.
KREW. What sneering little twit said that?
DOCTOR BUCKET. I did. Doctor Bucket, to you.
KREW. Well Doctor Bucket, if you think all matter is dead, what are you doing here?
DOCTOR BUCKET. To be sure, I don’t know. An accident, methinks.
KREW. An accident? What insanity to believe that! Nay, every atom is sentient, imbued with omnipresent mind.
DOCTOR BUCKET. You are free to believe whatever superstitious rubbish you like. But please do not inflict your childish views on everyone else. From my youth I have been well instructed in the art of faithlessness. I have several degrees in reductionist thought that span many disciplines. And all I see is the hollow heart of the world, bleeding in pointless agony, whilst men concern themselves with silly hereafters that do not exist. As for Jacques Vallin, he has no soul to save. We can all go home. Why prolong his pain? The verdict will not subtract one iota from the eternal duration of his death and non-being.
KREW. Keep your unpalatable physic of Death. Give it back to Lucretius, that Epicurean fool, who seeded the world with materialist error. The universe is an infinite continuum of God consciousness. Oh, you can sigh and groan all you like. I once saw a yellow mould, of the slimy tendril kind, solve a complex maze—a fascinating puzzle that would have taxed the wits Plato for a week; but the slime mould solved it in a day. ’Twould have done your heart good to see it, for your own logic is constrained by a complete lack of insight. I once heard two crows, discussing a ploughman’s hat; and they seemed to me the merriest birds in the whole wide world. I once heard six frogs singing psalms in the rain, and ’twas the most beautiful verse I ever heard. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and all else shall be added unto you.[v]
DOCTOR BUCKET. Talking crows and singing frogs? I think you mean cawing and croaking. Is Jacques is one of those ludicrous men who believe that spirits attend the mating and birth of animals?
JACQUES. Are you not here now?
DOCTOR BUCKET. To tell the truth, I am not entirely sure if you are a figment of my imagination, or if I am a figment of yours. But as a fervent atheist in a relative world, I have no place for private sentiment, either of the individual or of the state. So it doesn’t really matter whether we exist or not.
KREW. What folly Doctor Bucket, that you refuse the numinous realm, just to maintain your negative view.
DOCTOR BUCKET. Your positive is my negative and vice versa. Except mine has the burden of proof on its side, whereas yours does not. Unless you care to give us an example?
KREW. Exempli gratia, I myself can appear as a metallic sphere, simply because I wish to do so. My flight through space is never in a straight line, but changes like a bee; and I can vary my speed from naught to several thousand leagues per second; whereupon I appear as a ball of light. Any man perceiving me in this state, would realise that no earthly thing could survive such aerial acrobatics. And most would try to explain me away as a thunderbolt or falling star. Yet in this manner, Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven. The son of God subdued Nature by his miracles alone. And so I abase all human knowledge as worthless rags.
DOCTOR BUCKET. Your evidence for Christ is entirely circumstantial. And just because you can flit about like a ball of light (and I can’t, for the life of me, imagine why you would want to do such a ridiculous thing), does not prove that Christ was the son of God. If Christ existed at all. Which I don’t think he did, incidentally.
KREW. Your “incidental” is a universal negative; and you are only interested in defending that, rather than embracing the positive. But then, if God did not exist, you would not enjoy the privilege of being an atheist.
DOCTOR BUCKET. Oh dear, oh dear. This is all rather tiresome. Must I repeat myself. Did you know your breath smells?
KREW. I think you will find that the stench is from the bottom of your own pail. You are, after all, a bucket and full of shit. But that is hardly surprising, as base matter is all you are fond of.
DOCTOR BUCKET. Methinks you are nothing but an anarchist – which is a total contradiction in a court of law. Apologise at once or Lord Scales will overrule you.
LORD SCALES. Er, doctor Bucket, do not anticipate any ruling that I may or may not make.
DOCTOR BUCKET. Forgive me my Lord, but that Cyclops said I was full of shit!
LORD SCALES. Yes Krew, that was most offensive. And as a Cyclops, whose lustrous eye penetrates every solid, you do Hermes a great disservice. Apologise to Doctor Bucket. You have clearly offended him.
DOCTOR BUCKET. I am not offended.
KREW. Yes you are.
DOCTOR BUCKET. No I’m not.
KREW. In that case, there’s no need for an apology.
LORD SCALES. Krew! Apologise!
DOCTOR BUCKET. Never mind my Lord. The Cyclops is clearly trying to antagonise me. Do not let another religious war break out on my account.
JACQUES. I see what you’re all trying to do…
LORD SCALES. Do you Jacques? Are you so clever? Is your knowledge so great? Would you outwit the Infernal Counsel? So what do you know? Ask yourself: what do you really know?
JACQUES. The wood is green; the sky is blue; the corn is gold… And I am tired of all this childish, ignoble squabbling…
LORD SCALES. Ignoble? Why? Because I vindicate the Vatican?
JACQUES. Your weights and measures are diverse and contradictory. This court of Pandemonium is just a stratagem to test me. For how could Lucifer vindicate the Vatican? That whore of Babylon, who is the very body of barbarism.
LORD SCALES. You still love Lucifer? Love is blind. And naught is more blind than self-love. As for Mother Church, some special design of God must have brought Her into being.
JACQUES. For what purpose?
LORD SCALES. To keep His secrets.
JACQUES. Or bring about Apocalypse?
LORD SCALES. Perhaps.
LORD SCALES. What fool would put a date on the end of the world? The end of world has come and gone several times in the past hour alone. Yours is the only age. After which Christ shall reign in peace over the entire Earth. Then will rise a new race of Men; a civilization of high purpose, free from the bonds of the soil; Men who have applied wisdom and knowledge in equal measure, to liberate themselves from the tyranny of deformity, famine, disease and Death. Like Seraphim, they will be the stewards of Gaea. But I cannot show you the Kingdom of God yet; you are not supposed to see it; maybe in a million years; or a billion, or even ten billion. Nay, maybe tomorrow… Now, where were we? I believe Krew was about to tell us of a certain woman…
i. Origen, De Princpiis, Book IV, Chapter 1, 8, pp 293-294: ‘and yet they entertain regarding Him such views as would not be entertained regarding the most unjust and cruel of men.’, [‘The Writings of Origen. Translated by Rev. Frederick Crombie, M.A, Volume I].
ii. Matthew 22:21.
iii. Saint Augustine.
iv. Proverbs 20:27.
v. Matthew 6:33.
Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2004 (first posted on the internet in 2007).